Drivers, personnel comment on Jeff Gordon
Photo by Brian DeGruchy/
Jeff Gordon talks with the media outside the media center at Phoenix International Raceway.

By Dominic Aragon
November 15, 2015

AVONDALE, Ariz.—Sunday marks the penultimate Sprint Cup Series race for Jeff Gordon. NASCAR notables we talked to this weekend shared their thoughts on the four-time champion.

Aric Almirola; No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
“Been a big fan of his; growing up as a kid, watching him race. He really kind of paved the way for us younger guys to enter the sport at a lot younger age. He was the first one to kind of break down the barrier, come in at a really young age and the sport has kind of followed and trended towards that since him. A lot of us young guys owe a lot of that to Jeff.

Mike Bliss; No. 14 Tri-Star Motorsports
“I’ve known Jeff since he was five years old. Our parents—we were friends with them through quarter midgets when we started, so we’d stay at each other’s houses. I’ve known him a long time.

“…It doesn’t seem like he’s been around that long.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.; No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports
“I think it would be a hell of a way to end a career; win the championship, going out, retiring. Hell, he might un-retire. It would make an awesome movie, it would be a hell of a book. It’d set him apart from a lot of champions in this sport.”

Ryan Ellis; No. 33 Circle Sport Racing
“You’re able to go out there and race with him in his second-to-last race, and that’s something you’ll never forget…He might not ever know he’s my hero, I’m sure 500 million other kids [are] out there looking up to him, but it’s just cool, from my end.

“I’m going to get him to sign a helmet or suit before I go out there for the race.”

Photo by Christian Naranjo/

Members of The Racing Experts' Phoenix team talk with Dale Earnhardt Jr. post-qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway.

Jeff Green; No. 19 Tri-Star Motorsports
“We’ve had some ins-and-outs, I guess you can say. We kind of came up together out of the Busch Series into the Cup Series. He was able to get with the team that he’s with now, succeed with it.

“…Not to say that I see him every day now, but he was a good friend back then and I’m sure, today, I could walk up to him and [if] I’d ask him something, he’d tell me. So, that’s the kind of guys you want to remember.”

Cole Pearn; No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Crew Chief
“I grew up watching him just as much as anybody else. I remember being a kid, racing go-karts when he broke on the scene in the early-mid-90s.”

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/

Jeff Green rolls off pit road at Kansas Speedway in October 2015.

David Starr; No. 44 Tri-Star Motorsports
“Back in the Truck Series, five or six years ago, I used to be No. 24. I would always tell Jeff, ‘people love me because I’m your number and people hate me because I’m your number.’

I’ve known him a long time. We’re not best friends, just respect I have for him, his driving ability and what he’s done for our industry.”


Vince Welch; FOX Sports 1
“As a person from Indiana, there are a lot of memories that I have of watching him run a sprint car before he ever got to NASCAR, and then, to see him have the successes that he had in NASCAR.

Photo by 
Brian DeGruchy/

Jeff Gordon enters pit road at Kansas Speedway in October 2015

“Happened to be in victory lane with him at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after he won the Brickyard to do the winner’s interview. Those are thing I remember.

“I think, more than anything, just the kind of person that Jeff is and the way in which he carries himself in-and-out of the car. He’s a true champion of the sport. I think he will be greatly missed from that perspective.

“[I] look forward to having him as a colleague, working with us at FOX next year when he moves up to the booth. I think he will have an impact on the sport from that perspective as well.”

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